Responses to Tom Trinko, Frank Mattison, and John Williamson, whose criticism can be found here.
"First he ignores the fundamental difference between God who created us out of nothing and man.
“Hence the writer thinks it's bad that God declares Himself to be the Boss. Clearly if God made us and sustains us we owe Him something. But the writer just says that's bad. He thinks it's evil that God who gives us everything shouldn't be mocked. The same yahoo wouldn't mock his boss or his wifes parents but thinks it's evil to not mock God.”
I don’t discuss it outright until part three, so I do ignore the fundamental difference between God and man in part one. Spoiler alert: I don’t think there is a difference. Men created God and their prejudice and ignorance come through quite clearly in the Holy Writ.
God shouldn’t have ownership of us because he creates us, no more than a parent owns their children. Kids don’t owe their creators anything a priori, respect has to be earned, not asserted.
A healthy society is contingent on being able to criticize the leader. God doesn’t allow for that. It’s asserted that he gives us everything; why does that immunize him from mockery? Because he says so. I’m not clear which “yahoo” he’s referring to, but I certainly would mock anyone who deserves to be knocked down a few pegs. Bosses, in-laws, politicians, and religious people stand to benefit from a little lampooning.
* * *
“He's ignorant in that he doesn't realize that in the commandment not to kill it's actually do not murder. Hence he mutters some confused things about self defense that are irrelevant.”
As I said, all citations come from the King James Version, which renders 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.” It’s a shame that so many American Christians read sloppy, “modernized” translations of their own sacred text. The original Hebrew said “kill,” meaning to “deliberately kill”. That criminalizes, for example, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. All I say is that there are ethical exceptions. But God seems perfectly content with deliberately killing people.
* * *
“…If he had shown even the mildest sign that he had put any effort at all into studying the general human history of how tomes like the torah [sic] come about... I would have given him the time for a full read through.”
For the purpose of part one, I was operating under the assumption that the Ten Commandments were written by God. I’m glad we agree that they ‘came about’ in a different way. I welcome any challenge to my reading of the Exodus, but it’s a pretty straightforward synopsis. There’s also an admission here that he didn’t read the entire article.
“I personally find it offensive when an atheist starts his anti biblical arguments by applying judeo-christian morality to the Old testament, and declaring ‘It comes up short.’
This practice is juvinile [sic] to say the least... and generally beneath any kind of response outside of a hearty ‘pishau’.”
Surely you would maintain that Judeo-Christian morality is founded in the Old Testament? I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say I ‘apply Judeo-Christian morality’ to it. What I did do was challenge God on ethical grounds and I come to the conclusion that God is immoral by any modern standard.
* * *
As for who I’m addressing with the piece, it’s simply the people who read my blog. There are believers and non-believers, strident and doubting who check it out. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what you’re implying, but I don’t speak differently with Christians than I do with atheists, even when discussing religion.
My purpose is to outline the argument against the Decalogue, while being a little cheeky. I want to challenge Christians who think their religion is just, and challenge Christian apologists who masquerade as secularists.
It’s long enough as it is, and spending any more time on each commandment would be superfluous. That said, if there’s something that isn’t clear, the debate should be elucidating. As it stands, no one has yet responded to the actual arguments yet, rather my tone of voice.
And if someone’s reaction to the piece is instant dismissal, he wasn’t ready to have a serious discussion about his beliefs in the first place.